FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) - A federal court has halted timber activity across tens of thousands of square miles of the American Southwest over a threatened owl.
An order issued earlier this month out of the U.S. District Court in Tucson covers 18,750 square miles in all five New Mexico national forests and one in Arizona.
It says timber management activities will be sidelined until the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service get a better handle on how to track the population of Mexican spotted owls.
It's unclear what activities will stop. Federal land managers have been using logging, mechanical thinning and prescribed burns to lessen the chances of catastrophic wildfires that threaten the owl and its habitat.
The Forest Service says it's complying with the order.